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Amazon S3: New pricing model

May 1, 2007

I’m getting emails about Amazon’s new S3 pricing model, so I guess the news is out. 🙂

For us, this is great. We’ll save money right off the top (we upload a lot, so $0.10/GB uploaded vs $0.20/GB uploaded is a big deal) first of all, and secondly, they finally have tiered download transfer costs. This is a big one for us, because we buy enough bandwidth that $0.20/GB wasn’t cost-effective enough for us.

I’m going to have to run some numbers (I’m at MIX right now) to see if it’s now good enough for us to start serving more content out of S3 or not, but even if it’s still not perfect for us, it’s a major move in the right direction.

Finally, this illustrates a subtle but important point of using S3. When I buy physical disks at SmugMug, those are sunk costs. They’ll never get cheaper because I’ve already paid for them. At Amazon, though, market forces and changes will cause their pricing model to continue to re-adjust downwards. As disks get cheaper, that $0.15/GB/month fee will drop. And instantly all of your storage magically gets cheaper, no sunk costs to worry about.

That happened today, and I’m sure it’ll happen over and over again as storage & bandwidth both get cheaper and Amazon is able to leverage their scale to get better deals. The more people use S3, the more Amazon can drive prices down.

Since we were already saving a ton of money using S3, this is music to my ears. 🙂

  1. May 1, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    What is the average size of objects you store on S3? If you’re going to save money with this latest change, it’s presumably more than 100kB — how much more?

  2. PanMan
    May 1, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    The saving depends on the size of your files: not all prices have gone down. On the S3 boards there is a calculation that 1 GB of 4 kb thumbnails now costs 47 cents to download (vs the ‘old’ 20), and uploading it cost $2.5, instead of the old $0.20. So not all news is good. Besides, I sortof liked the fact that they had a “one size fits all” build in. Now it’s harder for me to compete with smugmug, because of the tiering. (that can be a good thing, for you, but if AWS want to bring down the barriers of entry, it isn’t for the industry as a whole).
    In the end prices mainly have become more complex, limiting the number of uses for S3. This might comply with their internal costs (I can imagine that this reflects the per file overhead better), but it also has some disappointment to it.

  3. Jeff S
    May 1, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    Yep, I think we’re in their 25% that is going to see an increase as well. Oh well, it’s still worth it. The bandwidth being cheaper helps offset the other increases. Even if we have to pay another 20% more than before it’s still a great service.

    Of course I dont have precise #’s on our puts and gets so I reserve the right to bitch a lot more later.🙂 We do a ton of them though.

  4. May 4, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    There may be a ‘gotcha’ in the new scheme. Did you notice the part about GET requests? Check out Shelley Powers and Don Park’s thoughts:

    Shelley: http://burningbird.net/technology/aws-price-change-two/
    Don: http://www.docuverse.com/blog/donpark/2007/05/04/s3-and-ec2

    I’m curious if you think this will affect SmugMug?

  5. May 6, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    You’re being charged for every GET, LIST, and PUT.

    Included among these are 304, 403, and 404 requests. I’m assuming you don’t allow anonymous access to your buckets, but manage this through your own applications. It may not be a problem, except that a 403 is a proper response for a bucket, so you’ll be charged every time an unauthorized access is made to one of your buckets.

    Still think it’s hunky dory?

  6. May 6, 2007 at 4:48 pm


    This pricing model makes a *lot* more sense to me than their first one did.

    Processing a GET request takes a certain amount of CPU on load balancers and servers, regardless of response size, and that wasn’t taken into account before. Now it is, and that makes a lot more sense to me.

  7. June 4, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    Hi Jim. Photos i received. Thanks

  8. David
    February 2, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Looks like CNN finally found out about AWS — and mentioned SmugMug in the article (looks like they talked to Chris). Cool🙂.

  9. November 15, 2009 at 10:02 am

    This was great last time, looking forward to it!

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    January 8, 2010 at 7:00 am

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  1. May 1, 2007 at 3:38 pm
  2. May 2, 2007 at 10:19 am
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